|Date of birth, please?|
Heck, I didn't think it was such a terrible thought. I mean, it's not as if I don't have an expiration date, right? I suppose that doctors don't like talking about their patients' expiration dates. Or, maybe the problem is that I don't know the date when I'm due to expire? Is it so close that it could be scheduled on my 24-month pocket calendar?
This morning I started to look at tomorrow's Gospel passage, for the 25th Sunday of Ordinary Time. In the third sentence Jesus tells his disciples that "the Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill him, and three days after his death the Son of Man will rise" (Mk 9:31).
When I looked at the passage in the original Greek (thank God for my Kindle!) I was surprised to see that "be handed over" is not in the future but in the present tense: The Son of man is being handed over. Hmm. Although the other two verbs are in the future ("they will kill him," "He will rise"), I was still fascinated by the use of the present tense. Was this some quirky trick of Greek grammar?
As I look at the passage now, though, I realize that Jesus is probably referring to the plot that is presently being woven against him: In a sense he is already being handed over. In any case, this mixing of present and future tenses makes for an interesting contrast with my reflections about my new calendar with my hand-written plans and its mostly-empty pages waiting to be filled in in the future.
What do I want those future months to be like? Don't I want them to be filled with love, generosity, gentleness and joy? If so, should I think of those in the future tense, or, taking my hint from Jesus in the gospel, maybe I should think of all these as already happening: March 2019 is already being filled with love, generosity, gentleness and joy? That would mean that I have to start today, in the present tense.
It's a good idea to approach this plan with a certain amount of urgency; who knows, my own expiration date may come before next March.